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Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA)
Office of Women’s Ownership – The U.S. Small Business Administration
Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) of the U.S. Small Business Administration

New York U.S. Export Assistance Center – U.S. Small Business Administration

Micheal Blake, NY State Assemblyman
Gale Brewer, Manhattan Borough President
Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor of New York State
Christian Damiba, Director, NYC Business Solutions, Upper Manhattan Center
Ruben Diaz Jr., Bronx Borough President

Michael John Downie, Chairman, Arts & Culture Committee, Manhattan Community Board 10
Adriano Espaillat, NY State Senator

Carl E. Heastie, Speaker of the New York State Assembly
Latoya Joyner, NYS Assemblywoman – Assembly District 77
Athena B. Moore, Director, Northern Manhattan Office
Elhadji Amadou Ndao, Consul General of the Republic of Senegal
Bill Perkins, NYC Councilman
Ibrahima S. Souare



Google’s Get Your Business Online program is on a mission to
help small businesses grow and succeed online.

Google’s Get Your Business Online program is on a mission to
help small businesses grow and succeed online.
Local partners are critical to the program’s success. Our
partners work with local businesses, sharing resources and
hosting workshops. Google provides training, program
materials, a dedicated support team, and more.

Our mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.

New York U.S. Export Assistance Center U.S. SBA

New York U.S. Export Assistance Center
U.S. Small Business Administration

Ed Ekel
Regional Export Finance Manager
Office of International Trade
New York U.S. Export Assistance Center
U.S. Small Business Administration
(212) 809-2645
Cell (646) 725-0953

Ed Ekel has significant export financing experience, both on the commercial banking side as well as on the exporter side. Among others, Ed headed up the export finance activities in North America for Siemens, Europe’s largest engineering firm. He was a regional director at the small business division of the Export-Import Bank of the U.S. before joining the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of International Trade in January 2018. He is located at the U.S. Export Assistance Center in New York City together with representatives of the U.S. Commercial Service (part of the Department of Commerce) and the Export-Import Bank of the U.S. Ed assists small businesses headquartered in among other areas the Metro New York region, as well as their lenders, in the use of the SBA guaranteed export loan programs.

NYC Business Solutions | Lower Manhattan Center

Ricardo is the Director of the NYC Business Solutions – Lower Manhattan center. For more than a decade, Ricardo has assisted business owners seeking to uncover solutions to common obstacles that entrepreneurs face every day. His financial analyses help to shed light on the strengths and weaknesses of loan candidates.  Ricardo currently leads a staff of Account Managers in providing advisory and technical assistance services to entrepreneurs throughout NYC.  Ricardo started his career as a banker at JPMorgan Chase, where he assisted clients with personal and business finance, retirement planning, and relationship management. He rose through the ranks to become a Small Business Advisor and Assistant Vice President at Chase Bank and worked with entrepreneurs to meet their cash-flow and banking needs. Ricardo was born and raised in Brooklyn amid an abundance of culture, personalities, and passions, and earned a bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a concentration in Business Administration from Brooklyn College.


Ricardo Devallon

Ricardo Devallon| Center Director

NYC Business Solutions | Lower Manhattan Center

79 John Street, 2nd Floor | New York, NY 10038

212-618-8914 Main

212-618-6733 Direct




An initiative managed by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration, as a collaborative effort with 19 Federal Agencies.

Export.gov brings together resources from across the U.S. Government to assist American businesses in planning their international sales strategies and succeed in today’s global marketplace.

From market research and trade leads from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Commercial Service to export finance information from Export-Import Bank and the Small Business Administration to agricultural export assistance from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Export.gov helps American exporters navigate the international sales process and avoid pitfalls such as non-payment and intellectual property misappropriation.

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Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA)

An agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

the U.S. Department of Commerce, Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) is supporting the African Union Expo and Martin Ezemma, MBDA Business Development Specialist, the Agency’s expert in the African Diaspora will be leading the Q&A discussions and his extended team will be delivering several of the sessions related to Exports/Imports, Trade and Investment.

The Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA), a job-creating agency, leads Federal efforts to promote the growth and global competitiveness of America’s minority business community. This summary includes a small portion of our overall accomplishments during the first three years of the Obama Administration.

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Office of Women’s Ownership – The U.S. Small Business Administration

The African Union Expo 2015 has been formally chosen to host one of the Innovate HER business Challenge events.

About the InnovateHER Business challenge:

Building on the success of the SBA’s inaugural 2015 InnovateHER Business Challenge, which we piloted in early 2015, Administrator Contreras-Sweet and the Office of Women’s Business Ownership are pleased to announce the launch of the SBA’s InnovateHER 2016: Innovating for Women Business Challenge and Summit. The InnovateHER Challenge is a national prize competition aimed at unearthing products and services that impact and empower the lives of women and families through local business competitions that culminate in a live pitch Final Round.

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Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) of the U.S. Small Business Administration

We are pleased to announce the support of the U.S. Small Business Administration, Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) for the African Union Expo 2015. the SBA SDBCs they are as follows:

  • Columbia University Business School, Harlem
  • CUNY, York College
  • CUNY, City Tech
  • CUNY, Lehman College

U.S. Small Business Administration, Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) will be delivering the sessions related to export finance, and export strategy, Business planning, Marketing and e-commerce.

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Micheal Blake

NY State Assemblyman

When describing the path his life has taken, Michael Blake humbly refers to the words of his mother who remarked that the family had gone “from no house to the White House.” Blake has committed himself to public service and to the empowerment of others like him, who may not have direct access to opportunities to participate in the policy and political debates that shape this nation.
Blake’s family story is a testament to his achievement. His family emigrated to the U.S. from Jamaica seeking new opportunities, but facing many new challenges.Michael Alexander Blake was born on Christmas Day at North Central Bronx Hospital with a heart murmur. Despite his initial health challenges, the namesake of two historic Jamaican public servants, Michael Manley and Alexander Bustamante, Blake was raised in the Bronx and continues to live a life rooted in the foundation of faith, politics and putting his heart and soul into all opportunities.

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Gale Brewer

Manhattan Borough President

  • Gale A. Brewer is the 27th Manhattan Borough President, responsible for advising the Mayor and City Council on borough concerns, commenting on all land-use matters in the borough, advocating for the borough in the municipal budget process, and appointing members of Manhattan’s 12 Community Boards.
  • The Borough President also chairs the Borough Board, made up of City Council Members and Chairs from the Community Boards, and the Borough Services Cabinet, composed of senior officials from City agencies delivering services in the borough.

Ms. Brewer previously served on the City Council for 12 years, from 2002 through 2013, representing the 6th Council District which includes most of the Upper West Side and northern Clinton.

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Andrew M. Cuomo

Governor of New York State

Andrew M. Cuomo, re-elected the 56th Governor of New York State on November 4, 2014, has a lifelong commitment to public service and the proven leadership skills to make government work for the people of the state.

Prior to his election as Governor, Andrew Cuomo served four years as New York’s Attorney General. As the state’s top legal officer, he made restoring public trust in government and protecting New York taxpayers the top priorities of his administration.

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Christian Damiba

Director, NYC Business Solutions, Upper Manhattan Center

Mr. Christian Damiba directs the day-to-day operations of the two New York City-Business Solution Centers (Upper Manhattan and Washington Heights) managed by Harlem Commonwealth Council Always offering an approachable management style with his enthusiasm, he makes constructive critique an art and crafting a cohesive team climate a science. Consequently, he methodically sets goals and supports his team to meet or exceed their designated targets and produce impact.

Mr. Damiba completed a Bachelor of Business Administration at Pace University and holds an MBA from Adelphi University.

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Ruben Diaz Jr.

Bronx Borough President

Ruben Diaz Jr. first entered public office as a member of the New York State Assembly in 1997, and is currently serving his second full term as Bronx Borough President, having been reelected in November 2013 with more than 89 percent of the vote.

As borough president, Ruben Diaz Jr. has led the implementation of a robust agenda—on economic development, housing, education, and public safety—in every corner of the borough. The Bronx has seen over $7 billion in new development of all kinds since Borough President Diaz took office in 2009. This includes more than $600 million in housing, building nearly 13,000 new units, and the creation of more than 15,000 new jobs.

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Inez Dickens

NYC Council Member, District 9

A lifelong resident of the 9th Council District that includes Central Harlem, Morningside Heights, parts of the Upper West Side and part of East Harlem, Inez Dickens is highly respected as a tireless fighter for basic civil and human rights, justice, equity, inclusion and diversity.   She is committed to improving the quality of life for everyone in her community and in the City of New York.  Moreover, for over 30 years beginning as a student activist at the side of her father and mentor, the late Harlem businessman and NYS Assemblyman, Lloyd E. Dickens, Council Member Inez E. Dickens has taken an active role in economic development, small business with a focus on minority and women owned business enterprise, and political landscape of New York’s celebrated village of Harlem.

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The Hon. Professor Michael John Downie

Chairman, Arts & Culture Committee, Manhattan Community Board 10

The Honorable Professor Michael John Downie is an Education Consultant specializing in performance improvement and growth strategy through curriculum development and global educational programs.  He served as Assistant Professor of English at Stevens Institute of Technology, where he instituted CAL 103, “The Freshmen Experience”, and was Assistant Professor of English & African American Literature at SUNY Westchester Community College.

In 2003, Prof. Downie founded Renaissance in Motion, a non-profit cultural organization that provides access to Harlem’s diverse artistic and intellectual scene through salons, lectures and concerts held in Harlem.

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Adriano Espaillat

NY State Senator

State Senator Adriano Espaillat’s career in public service has been marked by historic accomplishments and an unwavering commitment to integrity, justice, and equal representation for all.

Following a successful tenure in the New York State Assembly, Espaillat was elected to the Senate in November 2010, where he represents the 31st district. This uniquely diverse and dynamic district stretches from Manhattan’s Upper West Side through Washington Heights and includes Riverdale, Marble Hill, and Hamilton Heights.

A trailblazing community activist, Senator Espaillat made history in 1996 when he became the first Dominican-American elected to a state legislature.

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Martin Ezemma

Business Development Specialist-Access to Markets-Africa Focus
Minority Business Development Agency-U.S. Department of Commerce

Martin provides business consulting services for minority businesses on Doing Business In Africa.He serves as a member of the President’s Advisory Council on Doing Business In Africa. Martin represents MBDA to coordinate the Africa Diaspora business community engagement through the office of Trade Promotion Coordinating Committee (TPCC)-International Trade Administration (ITA).

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Van Freeman

Senior Advisor to the National Director
U.S. Department of Commerce, Minority Business Development Agency

Currently, Van serves as the Senior Advisor to the National Director at Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA), where he assists senior management with Agency operation; handles access to capital, access to markets, and innovation through the 44 business centers across the country; as well as facilitatingthe Agency’s strategic partnerships and spearheading Congressional and local government outreach.President Obama appointed Van Freemanto serve as a Deputy Director in the Office of the Secretary at U.S. Department of Commerce in 2013, before transitioning in to his new role withthe MBDA.

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Carl E. Heastie

Speaker of the New York State Assembly

Carl E. Heastie is the first African American to serve as Speaker of the New York State Assembly, elected by his Assembly colleagues on February 3, 2015.

In his first budget as Speaker, he worked closely with members of the Assembly Majority to develop a financial plan that made an historic $1.8 billion investment in the education of our students, addressed the homelessness crisis facing our communities and gave working families the resources they need to achieve financial independence. Speaker Heastie is committed to fighting for the reforms and investments that will strengthen our families and uplift all New Yorkers.

Speaker Heastie represents the 83rd A.D. in the northeast Bronx and was first elected to the Assembly in 2000. As a member of the Assembly, he has been one of the leading advocates for the construction of new schools and his vigilance has led to the development of several new schools in his district.

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Latoya Joyner

NYS Assemblywoman – Assembly District 77

Assembly  represents the 77th Assembly District, which includes Claremont, Concourse, Highbridge, Mount Eden and Morris Heights sections of the Bronx.A prior member of Community Board 4 and the Neighborhood Advisory Board, Latoya is a Bronx resident. She is also a proud product of the public educational system. Latoya is a graduate of Richard R. Green High School for Teaching and the State University of New York at Stony Brook. She participated in Stony Brook’s Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) and benefited from its dedication to grooming African-American and Latino students.

The program focuses on providing students with the necessary tools to succeed in competitive college academic environments. Striving to take the greatest possible advantage of the opportunities EOP made available, Latoya studied abroad in Ghana and participated in various internships.

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Athena B. Moore

Director, Northern Manhattan Office

  • Ms. Athena B. Moore’s office manages a broad portfolio which includes the work of the MBPO African Immigrant Task Force.
  • Ms. Athena Moore brings a wealth of expertise in policy advocacy, health and human services, and strategic planning – as well as a deep commitment to public service and broad experience working collaboratively – and I’m very pleased that she is joining our team,” Brewer said. “Our goal is to strengthen our community partnerships, ramp up constituent services, and do all we can to improve the quality of life in Northern Manhattan.”
  • Ms. Moore brings over 18 years experience to her position. Before joining the Borough President’s Office, Moore was Director of Public Policy at the National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS Inc.

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Elhadji Amadou Ndao

Consul General of the Republic of Senegal

His Excellency Mr. Elhadji Amadou Ndao was born and raised in Senegal, West Africa, where he attended primary and secondary school. After graduating high school, he went to the University of Dakar where he, along with other thirty two elite students in the literary track, had the privilege to be of the class that would be the first promotion of the Sociology Department newly opened at the renowned “Faculté des Lettres et Sciences Humaines” at the University Cheikh Anta Diop of Dakar.

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Bill Perkins

NYS Senator

Senator Bill Perkins, a Democrat was Elected to the New York State Senate in November 2006. Senator Perkins dealer to the 30th Senate District Which is part of New York County and encompasses Harlem, the Upper West Side and Washington Heights. A life long resident of Harlem, Bill Perkins His political career started as a community activist and is Known For His commitment to serving the community. The young, elderly and The most vulnerable New Yorkers Have Always Been Bill’s legislative Priorities. Prior to the election, Senator Perkins served on the New York City Council. During His eight year tenure, I was the third highest ranking member of the Council serving as the Deputy Majority Leader.

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Ibrahima S. Souare

Ibrahima S. Souare is a native of the Francophone Republic of Guinea-Conakry. He immigrated to the United States at the age of seven with his family. Mr. Souare has spent majority of his upbringing in New York City, and speaks three languages in addition to English, which are, French, Manike, and Susu. Mr. Souare is a graduate of the City University of New York Lehman College, and holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science.

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Mamadi Touré

Ambassador of the Republic of Guinea

  • Mr. Touré previously has held several high-ranking positions within the United Nations. Such as:
  • the Permanent Representative of Guinea to the United Nations;
  • Senior Political Affairs Officer in charge of the Horn of Africa Team in the Department of Political Affairs;
  • Chief of Staff at the United Nations Operations in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI);
  • Senior Political Adviser to the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for West Africa;
  • Acting Chief of Staff at the United Nations Regional Office for Central Africa.

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Pastor Michael A. Walrond, Jr.

Senior Pastor of First Corinthian Baptist Church

  • Rev. Walrond, who is also affectionately known by the congregation as Pastor Mike, serves as the leader, pastor and teacher to the “ever evolving community of visionaries & dreamers” at First Corinthian Baptist Church.
  • Within two years of his leadership at FCBC, the church experienced a tremendous amount of growth, inevitably necessitating the addition of a second service. Over the past eight years, membership at FCBC has grown from three hundred and fifty disciples to over seven thousand, and has led to the creation of several new ministries and initiatives.

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Kieth Wright

State Assemblyman

  • In 1992, Assemblyman Keith L.T. Wright, a lifelong resident of Harlem, was elected to represent the 70th Assembly District. Since then, he has earned a reputation for getting results for his constituents and for improving the quality of life for new Yorkers all across the state.
  • Over the years, he has chaired several standing committees in the Assembly among them, election law, social services, labor and his current chairmanship, of the housing committee. He has proven himself to be a true champion for civil rights and social justice having also sponsored key legislation including bills to: create affordable housing; raise the minimum wage and to strengthen the state’s wage and hour laws to provide essential protections for the hardworking men and women of New York.

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